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Your Summer Reading List

  • Najib Benouar

We’re big fans of Field Notes—and their fierce allegiance to the analog age—so we were more than pleased to hear from 10engines that they’ve entered the publishing business. Their first book, A Drive into the Gap, is centered around baseball, a father, a son and their unlikely connection to legendary ballplayer Roberto Clemente. And, in typical fashion, it’s designed to slip easily into a pocket or beach bag. For a few extra clams, you can pick up the bundle: the book and a couple baseball-themed memo books. There’s also an ebook version, but that would defeat the purpose.

The Analog Crown Jewels


Count on Tom Waits to dig up both an all-but disappeared species of creole jazz and an all-but-disappeared record player to play it on. Sometimes, you just have to go for the full anachronism.

As part of a benefit for Preservation Hall in New Orleans, Tom Waits teamed up with the house band for a recording of two classic Mardi Gras chants circa 1947, but they’re only being sold as limited edition 78-rpm records, just like back in the day. If you spring for the deluxe package, they’ll even throw in a custom-made 78-rpm phonograph to play it on. It might be the crown jewel of a vinyl culture based on tactile authenticity…or just a really cool party favor.

Faking It


We’ve always said you’d miss analog when it’s gone, but we didn’t expect things to go this far.

Now that the down-and-dirty look of the Polaroid has gone the way of the dinosaur, we’re scrambling to get it back. Poladroid is a program that takes digital camera images and adds a touch of blurring, that familiar light green tint, and ends up with something that looks like it was printed from a handheld camera and shaken impatiently until it developed. Just like grandma used to make!

The only thing better would be if they started making actual Polaroids again.

I Turn My Camera On


Digital cameras are good for feeding blogs, but analog has charms all its own, as we’ve noticed a few times before.

This twin-lens model comes from Superheadz in Japan, where lomography is already a full-blown trend. The shutter opens manually, so you’ll have to count on your own reflexes to make sure you don’t overexpose the film or end up with a picture that’s too dark to use.

It takes a while to get the hang of it…but that’s half the fun.

Seeing Red


Most analog technologies have gone the way of the 8-track by now, but film is making a decent stand, based largely on lomophile tricks like this one.

The above picture is “red-scaled,” meaning the film is inserted backwards and shot through a protective filter that cuts out most higher frequency light. A few clever folks have started making film specifically for red-scaling—meaning you won’t need quite as much technical elbow grease—but what they’re selling is really just pre-filtered film. It takes a good picture, though, as you can see.

Every Day I Write the Book


We lose little things all the time without realizing, but the feel of pencil on paper has to be one of the most overlooked casualties of the digital age. We’re not complaining—this is a blog, after all—but we will make a suggestion. Next time you have an idea, don’t send yourself an email. Take out a notebook and write it down. It makes a difference, even if you can’t say exactly how.

This Hlaska notebook isn’t more than a bunch of blank sheets in cloth binding, but the little change may do a lot more for your creative juices than you think.

(Thanks to acquire for the dig.)